The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a UAE-based global humanitarian organization dedicated to helping people in need worldwide, has delivered better socio-economic outcomes and improved the quality of life of more than 500 women while also indirectly benefitting more than 2,300 individuals through a women-empowerment project it established in 2019 in rural Upper Egypt.
Established to enhance women’s participation in the labour market, TBHF’s Ready Made Garments (RMG) Factory in the Qena Governorate in Upper Egypt, currently has a strength of 426 employees comprising 142 full-time workers and 284 in part-time positions, in addition to 80 staff members who work in a vocational training centre that provides relevant training and skills for women to enter the workforce.
The factory is self-sufficient and covers its entire operational costs while also allocating a percentage of profits to develop training programmes, implement safety measures, and acquire new machinery to enhance the quality of its products that are currently distributed across several Egyptian governorates. Going forward, the Ready Made Garments (RMG) Factory aims to market its high-quality products to neighbouring countries in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa.
This announcement was made during a recent media visit to the project site organized by the nonprofit and headed by Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF. HE Saleh Alsaadi, Deputy Ambassador of the UAE to the Republic of Egypt, Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement, representatives of diverse UAE media institutions, and members of the Egyptian media, accompanied the TBHF Director during the visit.
The Big Heart Foundation had launched the US$ 605,000 RMG Factory in Upper Egypt on a 500-metre square area as an extension of its ongoing development efforts in the area since 2017, including vocational training programmes to equip women with relevant training and skills to be able to enter the workforce. The factory project was implemented by the Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The factory, which commenced operations with 30 female employees in 2019, has since developed its training programmes and advanced its operations to cement its success and today, indirectly benefits more than 2,300 individuals, including families and extended relatives of its employees.
Located in close proximity to the homes of its female workers, the Ready-Made Garments factory is the first of its kind in the Upper Egyptian District of Qena Governorate to manufacture export products. Launched to provide a source of sustainable income for beneficiary families, the factory provides a favourable work environment where the health and physical conditions of its workers are prioritized, and societal customs and traditions of the area are adhered to.
The opening of 12 nurseries near the factory to care for the children of the employees has further attracted more females to work in the factory.
The cornerstone of humanitarian work
TBHF delegation also visited the literacy and vocational training centre launched in 2017 in partnership with ENID. Launched to develop viable and sustainable employment opportunities for women, the centre forms the cornerstone of TBHF’s humanitarian work in Upper Egypt, where women are trained for employment in the fields of design, sewing and embroidery, which eventually led to the establishment of the garments factory.
More than 80 women, working on both full and part-time basis, are employed at the centre.
During the visit, the delegation met with both the administrative staff and other employees. They were briefed on workflow and development processes and took a tour of the production lines and reviewed samples of the factory’s products.
In addition, TBHF delegation met with representatives of the local community, NGOs and local departments to discuss the community’s development needs, including training to equip residents with the necessary skills to join the workforce and discuss opportunities for future cooperation between TBHF and the local community.
Projects boosting the job market
Commenting on the visit, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “We are proud of the outstanding efforts of the Ready Made Garments (RMG) Factory in creating a sustainable economic enterprise within three years, and firmly establishing itself as a model for investment development projects. The fact that the factory’s growth and expansion have been facilitated under the leadership of Egyptian women gives us more reasons to be proud of this project.”
TBHF Director added: “Founded on an ambitious idea to utilize the energy and capacities of Egyptian women and the community, the factory has today bolstered its status in the Egyptian market by meeting the local demand through long-term contracts, which is an affirmation of the quality of the products produced in the factory, and its commitment to becoming a vital contributor to the Egyptian economy.”
Al Hammadi added: “We hope that the success of the garment manufacturing business will lay the framework for the development of similar economic projects to expand the scope of our humanitarian efforts across rural areas of Egypt in line with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of TBHF, to empower women, develop their skills, and support them to help advance the local communities.”
For his part, HE Saleh Alsaadi, Deputy Ambassador of the UAE to the Republic of Egypt, said: “The enduring bilateral relations between the UAE and Egypt have become a model for Arab-Arab relations. This distinguished relationship based on mutual respect has flourished since the founding of the UAE and under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Today, it continues to prosper under His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers, Their Highnesses, the Rulers of the Emirates.”
He added: “What distinguishes the humanitarian approach of the UAE, apart from its broad global appeal, is that it stems from pure humanitarian considerations and reflects the authentic nature of the Emirati people and their leadership, and their commitment to Islamic principles and values. Underlying the humanitarian values of the UAE is its vital role in strengthening relations with various countries and peoples of the world.”
Lauding TBHF’s initiatives and projects in Egypt, Alsaadi emphasized that Egypt looks upon any Emirati humanitarian support to any sector or region in Egypt as “brotherly support”, and added that any investments in the scientific, creative, and artisan-led economy in Egypt are investments in the development of the people of a country that is widely considered to be a key player in ensuring the stability of the Arab region.
TBHF efforts across Egypt
Over the past years, TBHF’s focus to deliver services and implement projects in Africa increased, particularly in Egypt. TBHF was able to broaden the scope of its services as well as development and humanitarian projects in cooperation with many strategic partners like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID), Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation (MYF), National Cancer Institute, Ahl Masr Foundation, among others.
Air Arabia is the official carrier sponsor of the media trip organized by The Big Heart Foundation to the Arab Republic of Egypt.